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CIMA Gallary

Leader in denial mode

Raiganj, Nov. 21: The North Dinajpur district president of the Trinamul Congress today claimed that Bhola Pal, who had been involved in a shootout with a rival faction of the organisation here yesterday, was “no one in the party”, but there is enough evidence to show the latter’s position in the party.

The 55-year-old Pal had alleged that a gang had opened fire on him when he was going to a club in an SUV yesterday afternoon. But police said bullets had been fired from Pal’s car also and he was arrested last night on the basis of a complaint filed by Ainul Haq. The police also arrested Haq for firing at Pal’s car.

The district president of Trinamul, Amal Acharjee, said Pal was “no one” as far as the party was concerned. “We have no links with Bhola Pal. He is no one in the party.” Acharjee refused any further comment.

However, The Telegraph has in its possession a letter addressed by Acharjee to Pal inviting the latter to a district committee meeting. In the letter dated August 20, Pal has been addressed as a member of the district committee of Trinamul.

Although Pal had been arrested, he hasn’t been produced in a court as he is undergoing treatment in the district hospital here for shrapnel injuries on the chest and thigh. Two other persons, Pinku Saha and Taton Mitra, were also arrested in connection with the shootout.

Taton had allegedly fired at the SUV from outside, while Pinku was with Pal inside the car. While Pinku has been remanded in police custody for five days, Taton and Haq were sent to judicial custody for the same period.

Other leaders, however, claimed that Pal was very much active in Trinamul. The chairman of the district Trinamul Congress Seva dal, Somnath Das, said Pal was a popular leader of the party.

“Recently, Bhola Pal has done a lot to strengthen our base in Raiganj town,” said Das.

At 4pm today, members of the Trinamul Congress Seva Dal took out a procession demanding the arrest of Pal’s attackers and submitted a deputation to the Raiganj police station.

Das’s claims were countered by the former district president of Trinamul, Arindam Sarkar. “We have no links with this person. He carries arms and indulges in shootouts. Such a person has no place in our party.”

Congress sacking

The Malda Congress today expelled two close aides to Krishnendu Chowdhury, who was sworn in as a minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet.

The district general secretary of the party, Mostaq Alam, said town Congress president Debapriya Saha and district Chhatra Parishad president Prasenjit Das had been expelled after consultation with the PCC.

“The new town Congress president will be Narendranath Tewari. The name of the new president of the CP will be announced later,” he said.